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Largest ever drag queen story time planned for Florida in 2023

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Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The world's largest "drag queen story time" planned for Jan. 21, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Florida, hopes to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest gathering of its kind. The event will feature activism, political discussion, and, of course, drag queens reading to children.

Organizers are calling the event “a fabulous family-friendly celebration of literacy" as well as a “very family-friendly event,” according to the Florida Standard.

While the event has been in the works for five years, with Facebook posts dating back to 2017, just over 200 people have RSVP'd, while 1,300 claim to be interested.

The event is not without a focus on progressive politics, however. The most recent post promises a protest and discussion of the group's most poorly regarded Florida policies.

"We'll kick the afternoon off with a short march to protest Florida's newest bigoted, oppressive and problematic policies. (Don't Say Gay, Stop Woke, the 15-week abortion ban, etc.) From there, we'll attempt to set the record for the World's Largest Drag Queen Story Time with Florida drag performers sharing stories and books with kids.”

Some of the event organizers work for an organization called Wordier Than Thou, which is listed as one of the hosts, describing itself as a literary arts and culture group in Florida aiming to "blur the lines of what a literary event is."

The group is not shy about organizing adult or sex-themed events, stating that it has "hosted literary pub crawls, written murder mystery games, hosted literary themed drag and burlesque shows," yet this event does indeed plan to have children attend.

The president and founder of the literary group also works as an editor for a Florida news site called Patch.

The event appears to have originally been slated for 2021; however the organizers canceled it due to COVID-19.

"This event isn't happening today," the post reads. "It was a casualty of COVID-19 and pushed to this placeholder date at the start of the pandemic. Then, we never moved forward with it because we're not ready to host something this large-scale yet. It will likely take place next year during Children's Book Week," the organizers wrote.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in June 2022 that he was to assign his staff to investigate whether charges may be brought against parents who bring their children to drag events, stating that "it just seems like there’s a concerted effort to be exposing kids more and more to things that are not age appropriate.”

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